Likely Story

Common Sense Media says

Light, soapy summer read about a teen soap writer.

Age(i)

2
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

A guy cheats on his girlfriend on a regular basis. A mother is emotionally abusive toward her daughter and marries frequently, ignoring her daughter's needs. One friend turns on another after suffering a disappointment.

Violence

Screaming matches between mother and daughter often occur.

Sex

A teen couple make out several times, including a time he shows up at her hotel room wearing nothing but a t-shirt and boxers. The narrator shares that the only thing being deflowered are the rose petals on the bed.

Language

"Bitch" is a often used as a description of one girl's mother. There are a few other mild swear words teens tend to like. Gay men are negatively called "gayboys."

Consumerism

A good amount of product placement: Desperate Housewives, Hamlet, Paris Hilton, Starbucks, Old Navy, Prada, etc.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

An adult woman drinks alcohol quite often to deal with emotional stress.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there's a fair amount of swearing, some make-out sessions, poor parental influence, and brand names in this novel. However, it's milder and less malicious than other teen fare like the Gossip Girl books.

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What's the story?

Mallory's life with her soap star mother is as unreal as the plot lines on her mother's show. One day, on a fluke, and after another huge fight with her mom, Mallory blogs about how unreal soaps can be and how she would write a better, smarter soap. When she's given the opportunity to do just that, she's jazzed. All she has to do is be successful, cast her best friend in the lead role, balance her life with her boyfriend who already has a girlfriend, and keep her mother off her back. Easy right?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

LIKELY STORY has a fun concept. The daughter of a soap opera star is writing a "realistic soap opera" about teens. The real story is not the soap, but the real life drama Mallory has to handle. Unfortunately, the book seems to be one big set-up for the sequel. Readers are left with flat, one dimensional characters that don't develop well enough for readers to care about any of them. Also the plot twists are predictable, readers will see Mallory's mom's power trip from a mile away.

Mallory delivers some pretty funny lines and the banter between the characters is, at times, giggle worthy. She's insightful, funny, and quick-witted, a great narrator. There may not be amnesia or alien abductions in this fast-paced novel, like you'd find on Mallory mother's show, but the story is grounded in soap opera reality -- right down to a blow-out argument that ends with someone falling into a pool.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about marketing and relationships. Does mentioning name brands and TV shows help the story? Are the characters who own high-end items positive influences in Mallory's life?How does Mallory's relationship with her mother affect her relationship with others? Mallory makes a tough decision where Amelia is concerned -- have you ever had to make a decision and worried about how your friends would react?

Book details

Author:David Van Etten
Genre:Contemporary Fiction
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Knopf
Publication date:May 13, 2008
Number of pages:240
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 17

This review of Likely Story was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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